m 5 V •*> ' \ - \ Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from Boston Public Library http://www.archive.org/details/citydocuments562roxb REPORT COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC PROPERTY ON NAMING ROXBURY: NORFOLK COUNTY JOURNAL PRESS. 1856. CITY OF ROXBURY. In Board of Aldermen, Feb. 11, 1856. Report read and accepted, and Order adopted ; and that two thousand copies of the same be printed for distribution. JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. Cifjj of ^o^urjr. In Board of Aldermen, Feb. 11, 1856. The Committee on Public Property, to whom was referred the petition of Thomas Simmons and others ; also the petition of Henry D. Gray and others, praying the City Council, that the new School House on Gore Avenue may be named the Eliot School, and also the remon- strance of James M. Keith and others against changing the name of said school house, have considered the sub- ject and respectfully [REPORT : The Petitioners ask that " the new School House re- cently erected by the City on Gore Avenue may be called the ' Eliot School,' and that the same may be so named by the City Council." The building to which reference is made, was finished ready for occupancy, and delivered over to the School Committee in March, 1855, and it appears by an inspection of the records, that it has as yet received no name from the City Council, owing to a division of opinion between the two branches of the City Council of 1855. At the first meeting of the School Committee of last year (Jan. 3d), a period of more than two months before the building was completed, and ready for use, an order was offered, naming it the " Comins School." Objections were made to the order, and it was laid over until the next meeting (Jan. 17th), when it was taken up and passed; twelve members being present, six voting in the affirmative. The Chairman declared it to be a vote. That there was a strong opposition to the name in the School Committee, as well as in the City Council, there can be no doubt. The only question for us to determine is, Has the School House on Gore Avenue been named ? It is claimed that precedent gives the School Committee the exclusive right to name the school, and that this is the practice in many other places. With the practice in other places, we have nothing to do, but what has been the practice here ? The "Central" (now in West Roxbury), the "Dudley," and " Washington " schools were named by the School Committee, and these instances are cited to show that this right belongs to that board. These schools were estab- lished many years ago, under the town government, when the duties of the School Committee were more arduous and somewhat different from what they are now. The committee then had charge of the entire appropria- tions for Schools, contracted for the purchase of lands, for the erection, alteration and repairs of houses, and had the care and superintendence of the buildings, &c, and submit- ted their report annually to the town. Upon the adoption of the City Charter, 1846, it was found necessary to change the practice, in order to have an uniform system of accoun- tability in the expenditures of the city, and because the Charter required that " the City Council should take care that no moneys be paid from the treasury unless granted or appropriated ; shall secure a just and proper accountabil- ity by requiring bonds, with sufficient penalties and sureties, from all persons trusted with the receipts and custody or disbursement of money ; shall have the care and superin- tendence of the city buildings, with power to let, or to sell, what may be legally sold ; and to purchase property, real or personal, in the name, and for the use of, the city, whenever its interest or convenience may in their judg- ment require it." The School Committee desired to continue the old sys- tem after the Charter was adopted, and one, among other reasons, was, because the convenience of the schools and teachers seemed to require that the committee should be able to furnish many small articles often required, and some small repairs which might require immediate atten- tion. The City Council objected, and to meet this want and to provide for any contingency of the sort, an ordi- nance was passed July 21st, 1847, No. 22, giving the com- mittee power to expend for the purposes therein named, a sum not exceeding fifty dollars. The School Committee passed a vote, "regarding with much satisfaction those proceedings of the City* Council, by which it appears they may be relieved from the duty of contracting for, and superintending, the erection, repair, and alteration of school houses, and for all labor and responsibility for the schools, except as relates to their internal management, and their literary and moral interest and improvement." The first and only Grammar School house ( for a new school) erected under the city government, was named by the City Council, or a Joint Committee thereof. We allude to the "Dearborn School." Now if the action of the School Committee under the town government is claimed as a precedent for naming new buildings, why did not the School Committee exercise their rights in the case of the Dearborn School? If their rights had been invaded, why did they not protest, and claim to exercise their authority in their own way, and place themselves right, at least upon their own record ? But there is no evidence of any dissatisfaction on their part with the action of the city government j on the con- trary, we have evidence of their cordial acquiescence, by recognizing the name and placing it upon their own records, and it is only a fair presumption that had the City Council anticipated their action, and given a name to the new school house on Gore Avenue, in accordance with the precedent established under the Charter in the case of the Dearborn School, they would have cordially assented to it, and all the difficulty and strife arising from what seems to be hasty, ill-timed, and inconsiderate action on *1 the part of some during the past year, both in and out o the board, would have been avoided. There is no vote, order, resolution, or by-law, either of the town or city, or any statute which authorized the School Committee or the government to perform this duty, and the authority is de- rived from the Charter, and that alone. The usage, as we have already stated, has varied under different forms of government, but under the city government, in the case of the Dearborn School, the City Council exercised the right with the implied assent of the School Committee, they not objecting or dissenting, but on the contrary clearly recog- nizing and approving the act by placing the name upon their records. We cannot see that the right of the School Committee would be invaded, or that it would be any violation of the rules of courtesy, or propriety, if the City Council should follow the only precedent established in the present case. Upon an inspection of the proceedings of last year, in ref- erence to this matter, we find this view sustained by the order of the Board of Aldermen. By these records it ap- pears that the subject occupied the attention of the gov- ernment, at various times, and owing to a division between the two branches, no action was matured. The history of this matter during the past year was briefly this : The petition of Hon. J. J. Clarke and others was presented, and is as follows : " The subscribers, citizens of Roxbury, deeming it fit and proper to perpetuate the names of those whose virtues and labors have placed them high on the record of public benefactors, and especially of such of them as are associated with the early history of our city, and inasmuch as in the division of the city, the school bearing the name of Eliot was included in the town of West Roxbury, they would respectfully request that the school to be gathered in the house recently erected by the city on Gore Avenue, so near the scene of the labors of that distinguished man, may bear his venerated name, and be known as the 'Eliot School.'" This was referred (Jan. 22d) to the Committee on Public Property, in both branches. At the next meeting of the government, a similar peti- tion from Hon. Samuel Guild and others, praying that the name of "Eliot" might be given to the school, was pre- sented and referred to the same committee. The committee considered the matter, and as appears by their report, submitted Feb. 12th, by Alderman Adams, the chairman, they were equally divided, and taking into consideration the action of the School Committee, they " deemed it inexpedient to take further action, and asked to be discharged," &c, which report appears to have been accepted. That this action was not deemed conclusive of the whole matter, as might be inferred from the phraseol- ogy of the report, is clear, from the fact that, on Feb. 26th, Alderman Adams presented the following preamble and order : " Whereas petitions have been presented to the City Council, signed by citizens of Roxbury, praying that the new school house recently erected on Gore Avenue may be known as the 'Eliot School,' — therefore it is hereby Ordered, That the new 'Grammar School House recently erected on Gore Avenue, shall be called from this time hereafter, the Eliot School, and be known by that name." N And the order was adopted by the board, and sent down for concurrence. The Common Council non-con- curred. In the Common Council, same date (Feb. 26th), it was " Ordered, That the Committee on Public Property be instructed to procure a tablet, with the name of the school house on Gore Avenue inscribed thereon, ' The Comins School,' and cause the same to be placed in the front of said school house." This order was sent up for concurrence ; the Board of Aldermen refused to concur, by laying the order on the table, from whence it was never called up. This was the 8 action of the government of last year. It seems that they did not regard the action of the School Committee as a finality, but, on the contrary, the Board of Aldermen passed an order giving the name of "Eliot" to this school, and refused to recognize the other name designated by the School Committee, by laying the order from the other branch, concerning the tablet, upon the table, and taking no further action in the matter. The remonstrants represent, that " the care of our public schools is by law intrusted to the School Committee, chosen by the citizens with especial reference to their qualifications and fitness for that trust, and the naming of the public schools would seem to be one of the appropriate duties of their office, &c. ; that in other cities it is usual for the School Committee to name the schools, and that in our own they have generally exercised that right." That the care and superintendence of our public schools is intrusted to our School Committee, as is provided in the eleventh section of our City Charter, as well as by the laws of the Common- wealth, there is no question in the mind of your committee, and we are not aware that any doubt exists upon the point. And if it be one of their " appropriate duties" to name the schools, we can only say that, whatever they have done under the town government, it is certain that they have never claimed or exercised such a right since the adoption of the City Charter, in 1 846, though oppor- tunity has offered for them to do so, neither have they remonstrated or protested against the exercise of this right by the City Council. We do not consider it our province to decide the question of right and duty between the School Committee and City Council, neither are we to determine the practice in other places. Our duties will be sufficiently discharged by a statement of the facts connected with the subject matter of the petitions, and with what has been the practice here, leaving the City Council to take such action as it shall deem proper. In regard to the donation alluded to by the remonstrant? the committee learn that the trust has never been accepted by the persons indicated as trustees, that the funds have never been in their hands, and consequently they have never received any interest accruing from the same, nor paid any over to promote the object specified in the domtion. If any such interest 'has been paid, it has been to other hands than the trustees. The fund's are not in the custody of the city, neither has it any control over them; that any action in relation to them by the city government will be in accordance with right and justice we have no doubt. In conclusion, the committee regret the necessity for the consideration of the question the present year, and they trust they will not be considered as travelling out of the path of their duty, if they add, that to suppose the intention of the School Committee of last year to have been to administer a rebuke to either branch of the city government for any act of omission or commission, is to suppose a want of courtesy on their part, inconsistent with the rights and duties of one department to another, and as such intent is disclaimed by individual members of the committee of last year, it is to be hoped that no such intent was entertained. It is to be presumed that all public functionaries discharge their duties in an open manly, and dignified manner, and with a single eye to the public weal. After a careful review of the whole subject, the com- mittee are of the opinion, that whatever the practice was under the town government, it is apparent that since the organization of the city government, in 1846, the School Committee have neither claimed nor exercised that right; that "the Dearborn School" was named by the City Council, or a joint committee thereof; that the School Committee offered no protest or remonstrance to the act» but, on the contrary, gave it their implied sanction ; that 10 the Board of Aldermen of last year did not recognize the regularity of the committee's proceedings, nor their binding force, nor that they acted in accordance with precedent, and they, therefore, sought to confer the name of Eliot upon the school, and refused to concur with the other branch in ordering the tablet; that the School Committee of the present year have not claimed that the exercise of this right by the City Council would be regarded by them as an invasion of their rights, although they must be aware that the subject is before the Council for action; and believing that the school house on Gore Avenue has not been named in accordance with usage and precedent, since the adoption of the City Charter, and that the government of last year, by reason of divided councils, failed to per- form this duty, and that no violation of the rights and duties of the School Committee will hereby be invaded, and that it will tend to harmonize conflicting opinions, and be in accordance with the feelings of the community, and especially with those who take a deep interest in the cause of education, and the welfare of our public schools, that the name of "Eliot" so justly revered, may be placed upon the edifice, so near the scenes of his labors, and that his early and long continued efforts and generous aid for extending the advantages of education in his own and all coming time, would seem to render it a sacred duty of the people of this city, to evince their rightful appreciation of his worth, by commemorating his name, the committee are induced to recommend that the prayer of the petition- ers be granted. In arriving at this conclusion the committee entirely disclaim any influences of a personal, partizan, or a political character. No considerations of this nature have had the remotest bearing in influencing their judgment. For the gentleman whose name was selected by the School Com- mittee, they have a high regard, and they entertain great respect for him as one of their fellow citizens, who has 11 been called to assume important public trusts in the city, and as Representative to Congress for the Fourth District, and they appreciate his efforts in the discharge of all his duties to advance the interests and welfare of the com- munity. The efforts of all our fellow citizens who have served the city in the character of its Chief Magistrate, are not only appreciated by those of our own time, but will be held in grateful remembrance by those' who may come after us. Your committee, therefore, recommend that the prayer of the petitioners be granted, and that the accompanying order be adopted. All which is respectfully submitted. By order of the Committee, NELSON CURTIS, Chairman. CITY OF EOXBUKY. In Board of Aldermen, Feb. 11, 1856. Ordered, That the School House recently erected by the City on Gore Avenue, be and the same is hereby known as the " Eliot School ;" and that the Committee on Public Property cause a suitable tablet to be inserted in the exterior walls of the building, of such kind of stone as aaid Committee may deem proper, on which the name of the School, and the year in which the building was erected, shall be cut, and that the expense thereof be defrayed from any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated. PUBLIC LIBRARY OK THE CITY OF BOSTON. ABBREVIATED REGULATIONS. . One volume can be taken at a time from the Lower Hall, and one from the Bates Hall. Books can be kept out 14 clays. A line of 2 cents for each volume will be incurred for each day a book is detained more than 14 days. Any book detained more than a week be- yond the time limited, will be sent for at the expense of the delinquent. No book is to be lem; out of the household of the borrower. The Library hours for the delivery and re- turn of books are from 10 o'clock, A. M., to 8 o'clock, P. M., in the Lower Hall ; and from 10 o'clock, A. M., until one half hour before sunset in the Bates Hall. Every book must, under penalty of one dol- lar, be returned to the Library at such time in August as shall be publicly announced. The card must be presented whenever a book is returned. For renewing a book the card must be presented, together with the book, or with the shelf-numbers of the book. <\- . '.